Think about your medicine cabinet. Perhaps, when you open the door bottles of current and old prescription medication are cluttered throughout the cabinet. Maybe a few of those bottles fall out every time, and you find yourself in a mindless routine of shoving them back into place. It may seem like no big deal to keep these pills around, especially the older you get. You never know when you’re going to have a new ache or pain. Therefore, you hold onto those pills the doctor gave you post-surgery. However, keeping old prescription pain medications around, especially narcotics or opioids, can actually be pretty risky. These medications are highly addictive and sought after by people. You never know who in your family might be snooping in your medicine cabinet. Worse yet – what if one of those bottles ends up on the floor within reach of a grandchild? Here are three reasons why opioid disposal is important, and a few tips for how to dispose of narcotics safely.
Three Reasons Why Opioid Disposal is Important
- Reduce temptation for those who may want to misuse the medication
- Prevent an accidental overdose
- Avoid unwanted symptoms from expired medications
Whether intentional or accidental, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more than 165,000 people died in the United States from overdoses related to prescription opioids between 1999 and 2014. Pills such as Percocet or Vicodin can be very dangerous when they are not taken as instructed by the person prescribed to them. This is why it’s very important to dispose of opioids once you are done using them.
Tips for How to Dispose of Narcotics
So, how can you safely dispose of narcotics? It turns out, tossing them into the garbage or flushing them down the toilet are not the safest options. Although this may prevent a person you know from ingesting them, it puts these chemicals into the environment. Plus, someone could still dig them out of the garbage if they were desperate enough. With that said, here is an alternative for how to dispose of narcotics.
Find an Official Take-Back Site for Opioid Disposal
The best thing you can do to dispose of your old pain medications safely is to find a designated take-back site. There are places across the country where you can drop off unused medications. For example, drug stores, police departments, and other organizations have established designated areas where you can take your pills and place them in a locked box. Then, the organizations dispose of medicine all at once. This way there are fewer pills ending up on the streets or in the wrong hands.
There is a major push for how to dispose of narcotics safely. This is because in our country today more people are dying from overdoses than from car accidents. Much of these overdoses are the result of people gaining access to opioids from family members or friends who are unaware they are feeding someone else’s addiction. The need for people to safely dispose of opioids is so great that even internet-search giant, Google, has jumped on board. You can now use Google maps to locate medication drop-off locations near you. According to an article published in Bloomberg, “Google searches such as “drug drop off near me” will bring up locations from a database of 3,500 sites in seven states as part of the pilot program.”
So, if you have a medicine cabinet stashed with expired and potentially dangerous medications, today is the day. Try out that search and find out how you can safely dispose of the medicine!
Do you have additional questions about how to dispose of narcotics? Ask us in the comments below!